Burnside Highschool New Zealand students protest for Raif Badawi
The Burnside Highschool Amnesty International group in New Zealand held a silent protest in Cashel Street Mall at 1130 on Saturday May 1st on behalf of Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for starting up a website encouraging peaceful sociopolitical debate in Saudi Arabia.
The Burnside Highschool Amnesty International held a silent protest in Cashel Street this weekend drawing attention to the plight of Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for starting up a website encouraging peaceful sociopolitical debate in Saudi Arabia.
Students stood with tape over their mouths and holding a banner demanding an end to his flogging and imprisonment during the busy lunch time Saturday. Curious locals and tourists alike were encouraged to sign a petition demanding Raif’s release. Close to 100 signatures were gathered within 30 minutes, the petition to be sent to the Saudi King.
“The students of Amnesty at Burnside are extremely concerned about the fate of Raif” says Michele Craw, a Burnside High teacher who helps coordinate the student group. “We take our liberties such as online speech for granted. Our group wants to let Raif know that he is not forgotten, and to put pressure on the Saudi King to release him.”
Accused of "insulting Islam" through his online writing, Raif was arrested in June 2012, and received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January in a brutal public flogging. Raif is at risk of repeat lashings at any time, despite medical experts advising that he will not be able to tolerate it.